Text: Johann Chan.
Photos: Marcelo Nardi.
After the first attempt of Battle Vibes fell through in 2012, the supposed collaboration of Keelan Phillips and James White returned to make Battle Vibes the first UK contest of 2013.
Last Sunday February the 3rd, the concept became a reality. Keelan unfortunately failed to make the contest, rumour has it, he was standing in for Justin Bieber for a show in Germany. James White – initially unaware of his involvement in the contest, reserved a suite at the Hilton the night before in a desperate attempt to resuscitate UK flatland for the 10th time.
Ade King the undercover man behind the jam, (no relation to fellow promoter Don King) used his extensive experience with organising old school B-boy / hip hop events, and notched up a killer sound system, DJs, and silky smooth floor at a fantastic venue at a leisure centre in Northampton.
Surprisingly (and perhaps alarmingly) C group was the smallest group at this event. 7 year old Richie Spencer has had a good upbringing with riding all forms of BMX- a bit of racing, skateparks, as well as competing in flatland. Third place for the little dude. Morgan Gleave took a break from his IT to enter on his 1inch Dirt bike for 2nd, and the winner was Jake with a victory in his first contest.
Expert was the largest group. Denny contributes alot to BMX, and in an attempt to be the most productive BMX rider of all time, filmed, rode and photographed his own run whilst giving props to everyone all at the same time.
Matt Spencer tag teamed his son Richie in practice, unleashed messiahs and hang fives demonstrating a noticeable improvement at every contest.
Stuart McLaren rode a great run with some classic showmanship, getting caught up in the b- boy flava with a dancing cap magic trick, where the cap magically disappears behind his back, and then reappears back on his head all throughout preforming a surfer- great run, superb showmanship with some amazing bar presses hitchhikers and a mental rollaid thrown in for good measure.
Tom Brace disguised a hit and run on Chris job with a smooth gliding messiah across the huge leisure centre floor before revealing his true intentions. Tom almost unplugged all the DJ cables and took out the Job, but the assassination proved unsuccessful.
Top guys Chris Carter and Andy Wood displayed some nice hard long double footed rolling links. All round top bloke TGM Peter Pan Maz has a nice mix of hitchhikers, spinning lawnmowers, scuffing and decades, but gelled a bit for a third place. I left the camera at home in a desperate attempt to escape my media grommet demeanour (only to get roped into writing this piece). Cliff hanger, bwds- fwds spinning lawns, hang nothings, circle Ks and little fancy footwork on the floor for second place. Mayko Lee has improved no end, not only did he take off his two hats, but also his t-shirt. Before completing his striptease, Mayko jumped on his bike performing stylish spinning lardyards in gyrator position, with double footed rolling backyards. Another caught up with the whole b-boy vibe, Mayko ended with a no handed time machine, diving onto the floor, and went straight into an attempted windmill. A drastically improved Mayko chalks up a second expert win- well done!
A couple of riders made the jump to A group. Manning up to the occasion was the man previously know as Stinky feet Sal, (now know as professional male model Sal), backwards cliffhangers, jugglers, hopefully we’ll see an edit of the jam soon from this multi-talented stud muffin.
Yinka Thomas also jumped to pro on this occasion with nice spinning lawns like only he can. Like many others Yinka was another victim to the wet winter months holding him back from the inevitable glory which faces him.
Lee Wilson, Bence & Andy Hale fell victims to the cold wet winter, with a few very nice complicated moves pulled. Great to see Amos putting his 21inch S&M and four steel pegs through the motions- straight from his new found status as a dad- congratulations!
James Smith took time out from his DSLR devices emporium, filming duties and looking after his designer dog to jump into his matt black Porsche 944 to multiple whiplash, halfpacker pump and backwards manny his pink mop across the leisure centre floor.
Chris Brown was on fire in practice, once again proving T-shirt off = getting serious. Nice whiplashes into all sorts of tech brakeless pinky whip trickery ensures a prosperous future for ‘velcro feet’ .
Jason Forde, also demonstrated a man’s worth of riding with a disgustingly stylish long link including multiple, flips, spins, hitch juggler only to slightly dab right at the very end.
Josh Briars whoppered his way onto the floor alongside music which made him look even manlier than usual, great mix of time machine, whiplash, and cliffhanger variants.
Matti Hemmings exploded onto the floor ready for action, whiplash into hang nothing- on the stem hang five, double footed pumping deathtrucks, time machine variants, with spinning cliff with ft on bars, blizzard like spins and turbines, gave Matti a very close second.
Fresh out of his Oxygen tank at the Hilton, James White, put ‘the white bike’ through a smooth controlled treat of one handed multiple whiplashes combined with multiple one handed jugglers, double footed death trucks multiple bike flip gyrator, dump truck combos, including no handed, switch footed etc etc. All executed with a timeless smoothness we’ve all grown to expect from the living legend’s 15th comeback. All together top job by the new S&M sponsored, MCing, semi-organising Battle Vibes champion.
The jam was a great start to the year with a great Job being done by Ade, James, and Chris Job on the mic.
Let’s hope this is a good start to an even better 2013!
Ade would like to say thanks to: Sponsor KEELAN PHILLIPS, DJ’s MKUTZ, OP1, Aidy west for p.a. Nik Vanhasslehoff, Paddy O’Donoghue, for helping a whole bunch, and James White.